What I Haven't Got

Winter's change is the cruelest of all, for me. It is frozen and dark and offers no glimmers of hope, except those that twinkle reflecting off the frozen tundra, mirages in the desert of our lives holding out the distance sparkle of solace where the reality is that there is none to be had, and it is cold, and there is a long way to go before there will be warm, golden light.

Everyone is writing their end of the year posts this week. The best books they've read, the coolest places they've traveled to, the best pictures they've taken, the best goals they can think of for themselves in 2013 - this is the week that pretty much everyone looks in the rear view mirror, checks their blind spot, and changes lanes along the highway of their lives. People woke up on Tuesday - maybe refreshed, maybe hungover, maybe pregnant, and stared down a new day and a new year with the determination to do/be/write/love/act better.

More. Bigger. Differently. Something. 

These are the moments for which I hold my breath and wait for time to pass. These are the days I pray for forgetfulness or distraction. These are the times I wish I wasn't, and didn't, and won't. 

My year isn't ending yet. My year ends on January 7th when my entire world did. It ends again on January 25th, when the new house of cards I'd spent 17 years meticulously building up came crashing down. My year isn't restarting yet.  It begins anew on January 9th, just like it has every year since 1992 when I was shoved headfirst through an airplane jetway and into a brand new life. 

January marks the days of my mother - the day I lost her, and the day I left her forever. January marks the day I lost my husband and decided in my heart, if not my head, to leave him forever, too. January is not the month I reset or recharge or realigned; it is the month I die over and over again. January is a month of resignation, of giving in - letting go and letting whatever the hell will make this easier


But I am trying to change that. 

This year will be the first calendar year that I live start to finish intentionally, for myself, not in a way that I feel like someone else is making me live but in the way that I chose to live. I ended this year entirely too far over the edge of the precipice to let anyone pull me back into that old cycle, that old life that I keep setting myself up to live through and die from over and over again.  

I'm learning - no, I've always known, I'm trying to accept - how much of everything that has transpired is my own fault. I didn't make my husband drink-and-everything-that-comes-with-it, but he certainly didn't make me stay, either. I perceive requirements that don't always actually exist and customize my life around them, because I am a highly skilled, professionally groomed enabler, and that is what we do best. I've been so afraid of change that I found a near exact replica of my relationship with my mother and entered into a legally binding, contractual, lifetime relationship with it. 

Every January I mourn these losses that are in fact gifts. Twice in my life I have held my nose and stood tippy-toes-over a precipice, waiting and hoping for something, someone, god will anything just come shove me over? because I certainly have never had the courage to leap on my own accord. Twice in my life I have been given exactly that which I have wished for. 

And it is a gift. These weights I cling to are actually disguised wings. I just have to figure out how to use them to fly.

Internal Snooze Button

Waking up a 10 year old boy before noon on the last day of winter break is a lot like talking to a toilet. I can't blame him, though; I'm fighting this whole Reset bullshit pretty hard myself.

The nice thing about living in places like Denver or Vancouver is that you get heaps of snow falling down all around your life, melting away and taking everything you don't like with it. You get to watch nature do the thing you wish you could, silently and effortlessly. It's slightly inspiring, if you're the sort of person willing to find inspiration. And if you're not stuck on Colfax surrounded by of fourteen foot walls of inspiration.

We don't get a whole lot of snow in Houston, and I've found that it's harder here than anywhere else I've lived to hit reset on anything, because nothing here really resets all that much. My plantain trees are dead, but other than that, it doesn't look a whole lot different outside than it did 70 degree ago. There are still roses defying my many attempts to slaughter them growing, my mums are still shockingly alive yellow, I don't have the external prompt of snowfall or a en masse temperature drop or a first bloom to kickstart me into anything.

You know that smell in the air that makes you say, "Mmm, today would be a fine day to open the windows and spring clean the shit out of everything"? It smells like that here in December. And August.

But just like jet lag messes up your internal clock and makes it nearly impossible for you to be right for a few days, living in the land of perpetual summer is jacking with all of us, making us seek refuge in the only place you can when winter's dye job has bled all over the rest of the sky, staining everything in unintentional blue, when the night lingers too long and cut's into day's turn at the mic...the business end of your softest blanket in the poofiest corner of your couch.

For the past two weeks, we've wrapped ourselves up tight inside a cocoon of the status quo we want so badly to maintain, because it smells like Downy and soft dreams. We've hit snooze each time the year's responsibilities, obligations, demands and potential have buzzed around our dreaming heads and we fell in love with the fireplace and the Christmas lights and each other all over again.

And tomorrow, the debt we owe that clock is going to come screaming down on us.

Tomorrow it's back to school, back to work, back to prompt dinners and rationed television and orchestrated lives. Tomorrow we forge into a new year headfirst, like it or not, and find out if we stored enough up in our recesses to see us through until spring. Tomorrow we start out on a new path, one that we hope will lead us to better math grades or a high G or the courage to take our own advice and write until we get good at it again. Either way, tomorrow morning, we're waking up.